The first years in a new interior design business can be very daunting when you don’t have established database of clients and expansive portfolio yet.
That’s why it is essential to invest the maximum effort into a marketing campaign in order to get your first projects.
Below are five marketing tools that have proven to be effective for interior designers:
Houzz is an online community that unites homeowners and interior design professionals from all over the world.
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You can use it to showcase your portfolio, get reviews from the clients, and get featured in their web-magazine.
Here’s some tips on how to get the most out of HOUZZ:
● Use keywords and write an introduction for your company and write meticulous descriptions of each project, using lots of hashtags.
● Your project might get attention of HOUZZ editors and they can include it in their articles with the link to your profile. This means more exposure for you.
● Participate in discussions and be prompt in replies. If somebody asks questions about your project, it will appear on the HOUZZ forum.
● Link your projects to your website or blog. On your blog you can use your HOUZZ photos for illustrations by embedding them in your articles.
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● Submit your best projects to the editors – writers are constantly searching for new and interesting content for their blogs so you might get featured if you send them beautiful pictures and a catchy pitch.
2. Home staging
Home staging is a real-estate enhancement, in other words, making a property more attractive for potential buyers or renters.
Despite it being an independent area of business with some professionals specializing solely in home staging, I recommend using it as a marketing opportunity to promote your interior design services.
I received my first ever interior design project after completing the home staging of a rental for a client.
The same client then later hired me to design his new flat and also recommended me to a couple of his friends.
Home staging is a great way for you to enter your professional career, forcing you to dive in head first, get your toes wet and gain knowledge on the job.
Home stagers arrange the furniture, repaint the walls and find or remove accessories. It is great for practicing your decorating skills without the fear of major construction developments such as the demolishing of walls or the conversion of spaces which most likely will require planning permissions from local authorities.
How to get your first home staging job:
● List home staging among the services your offer on your website.
● Join real estate groups on Facebook, Google+ and relevant forums (“Apartments for rent”, “Buy/Rent properties” and post an announcement about your home staging services. Many people don’t understand the benefits of home staging so explain it to them (“This will help to rent out your apartment faster”, “Sell your house for more”, etc.).
● Hire a professional photographer to take pictures of the finished project. Though it is not a cheap service, it is a really good investment which you should spend money on. If you collaborate with real estate agents they usually cover these expenses.
● Publish the photos on your social media pages, blog, and website. Submit them for publications in local magazines and newspapers, as well as other blogs and websites.
3. Partner with developers and construction companies
Go right to those building new construction and ask to partner with them. This is a great opportunity to find new clients.
● Research construction and development companies in your area. Give them a call and offer collaboration.
● Usually these companies have forums on their websites for property owners. Find out if you can post an ad there about your services.
● Print out flyers and business cards and discuss with construction companies if you can leave them in their offices.
4. Partner with real estate agents
A real estate agent (or broker) is the person who sells or rents out houses for clients (who are your potential clients as well).
If you are able to make friends with people who are working in this field, you will provide yourself with a consistent flow of clients.
You can offer a real estate agent a good commission for a recommendation. Here are the steps that you can take in order to establish a productive collaboration with them:
● First meeting – personal contact. Make sure that you meet the agent personally, not just by making a “cold call.” This will allow you to establish a relationship on a more personal level from the beginning.
● Bring your portfolio and brochures. Leave them your business cards and flyers, so that they can give them to their clients.
● Be straightforward. Explain why they will benefit from this collaboration. If that is commission, discuss the percentage.
● Offer free interior designer consultations directly on the spot. Professional interior design advice about how clients can change layout of the property or decorate it will help the real estate agent to “close the deal.”
5. Partner with architects
As an interior designer, you can approach various architectural bureaus and offer to collaborate with them.
Make a list of architectural firms in your city and start to call them one by one. There will be a good chance that some of them will be willing to start working with you.
Your main goal is to convince architects of the benefits that your collaboration will bring: at the end of the day the ultimate goal of each professional is to complete successful projects and this will be possible only when careful consideration is given to the planning, design and coordination between all those involved in the design and installation.
Interior designers are responsible for thinking about every little detail that will be placed in the room, while architects see things in a larger scale and coordinate the whole construction process.
The client will then be able to see what a room will look like in every detail and be reassured that everything will fit and work together.
As an independent business owner, it’s up to you to market your interior design business. Try these 5 tips in this article to see if your business increases.
Do you have advice for interior designers looking to build their business? Tell us in the comments!
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